Ancient pagoda in Nam Dinh recognized as national heritage

Ancient pagoda in Nam Dinh recognized as national heritage

The over-400-year-old ancient Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda in the northern province of Nam Dinh has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.
23:00, 19/10/2019
Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda is one of the most ancient pagodas in Vietnam whose architecture has been preserved intact over its 400 year-old history. (Source:

A ceremony was held in Xuan Truong district on October 8 to receive the recognition and also kick off the Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda Festival 2019.

According to Tran Le Doai, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, the special national relic site of Keo Hanh Thien pagoda is an ancient and unique architecture which dates back to the Ly Dynasty (1009–1225)

It was a venue for people in Hanh Thien Village to pay tribute to Zen master Duong Khong Lo, who significantly contributed to the development of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha during the Ly Dynasty.

“The National Intangible Cultural Heritage recognition will promote the historical, cultural and architectural values of Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda,” he said.

Located in Xuan Hong Commune, Xuan Truong District, Keo Hanh Thien is one of the ancient pagodas in the country whose architecture has been preserved intact for over 400 years.

State management on preserving, protecting and promoting the values of the festival must be tightened to make it an attractive destination, which would help to boost local tourism, he added.

Legend has it the pagoda was originally built in bronze by Duong Khong Lo along the banks of the Red River in 1061 during King Ly Thanh Tong reign.

It was initially known as Nghiem Quang Tu and then renamed Than Quang Tu in 1167. It was also known as Keo Pagoda following the Chinese-transcribed Vietnamese name for Giao Thuy district.

After standing for nearly 500 years, the Red River flooded Giao Thuy village where the pagoda was located in 1611. The villagers relocated to establish Hanh Thien Village and built a new pagoda.

The Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda festival features a boat race. (Photo: VNA)

It is one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, covering 58,000sq.m in Xuan Truong district's Xuan Hong commune.

Many ancient historical items dating back to the 17th century are still being preserved in the pagoda such as altars, bells, and Han-scripted books about the pagoda.

The Keo Hanh Thien Pagoda festival, which runs from October 8 to 14, is a unique cultural activity at this relic site. The festival features many exciting activities such as folk games, traditional ceremonies and a boat race.

The pagoda has 13 buildings, which are home to many antiques dating back to the 17th century including altars, bells, statues, and old books about the pagoda.

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